You’ll regret it if you miss this.

That was the headline of an email I got the other day. A webinar or special event or something was coming up. The headline “You’ll regret it” was designed to get me to open, to appeal to the part of me that is always afraid of missing something important.

That’s why I check Facebook often. That’s why there are piles of papers in both my office and my study. That’s why I flip channels, why I skim twitter.

I don’t want to miss something I might regret.

boxesBut what if I shifted my thinking, from a fear of missing something important to a delight in pursuing something important? I have a feeling that people who know they are after something that matters are less fearful. Particularly when they are confident that they are after the right thing.

I remember being impressed by Nehemiah’s response to people trying to distract him from rebuilding the wall: I can’t come down. Paul’s summary of his work is simple: one thing I do.

These two leaders, living five centuries apart, embody an instruction from Jesus: Seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.

That phrase is rich. Jesus talks about pursuing a realm, a place, a citizenship. As I pointed out, the first message Jesus proclaimed was that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  A kingdom is something you belong to, even if you are not in it at the moment.

But more than seeking a place, Jesus says to look for God’s way of living.

We know how insufferable we find self-righteous people,  people who say that their behavior is the standard by which all others should be measured. (Which is, of course, why we find ourselves upset when our actual behavior doesn’t match what we think it should be.)

Instead, Jesus says, look for a way of living that is rooted in forgiveness and restoration.


I wrote this a couple years ago and never published it. And I spoke at Bethel College a week ago. Here’s the link: Potluck and Pie: Empty for Others.

One thought on “You’ll regret it if you miss this.

  1. Rebecca

    Most disconcerting when local churches add this temptation to their already frenzied congregants, urging them to “subscribe” to be in the loop of church activity.


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